What are My Options if I Cannot Afford a Divorce?

August 27, 2020

Divorce comes with many costs, and many married couples postpone getting divorced for financial reasons. Some do not want to put their families through it, while others think they cannot afford it. Fortunately, there are some ways to cover the costs of divorce.

What Will My Divorce Cost?

According to Business Insider, the average cost of a divorce in the United States in 2019 was $15,000, keeping in mind that there are many variables that affect costs. These include what part of the country the separating couple resides in, complexity of the case, attorney fees, court filing costs, and any payments to mediators and expert witnesses.

Couples who are able to settle certain things on their own are more likely to save time and money throughout the process. There are also options out there for couples who need to cut back on these expenses even further.

Should I Separate from My Soon-to-be Ex-Spouse?

A simple separation can be a good choice for soon-to-be ex-spouses who do not have kids or own valuable property. There is no legal oversight involved, so the separation can be temporary or permanent. The two parties can stop living together but are still legally married. It is a good idea to write up an informal agreement to use for guidelines. Here are advantages and disadvantages of simple separations:

  • Little financial costs involved.
  • If there are children, child support payments must continue.
  • If one ex-spouse does not carry out the terms of the agreement, the other has no legal recourse.
  • The couple is still legally married, so both are responsible for certain obligations, like paying off debts incurred during the marriage.

What is Legal Separation?

This is a formal agreement in which the couple agrees to live apart. The agreement also covers child support, child custody, and property and asset division. It is also less expensive than a divorce, and it keeps the family unit together from a legal standpoint. Also, it allows one spouse to keep the other spouse’s health benefits.

Is a Mediator a Good Idea?

Unhappy couples that stay together for many years can feel a lot of anger toward each other and may be unwilling to work towards solutions. Some can benefit from working with mediators who provide objective feedback, resources, and suggestions. In some cases, mediators help families stay together.

How Can I Create a Financial Plan?

Sometimes, divorce is the only answer, especially in cases of abuse, violence, and infidelity. To start cutting costs at the outset, a person can create a financial plan to manage their money temporarily. Any joint accounts can be closed and individual ones opened. Each party can contribute to the monthly expenses until the divorce is final. Any outstanding joint debts should also be addressed and paid as soon as possible.

How Can I Raise More Money?

Separating couples may also have other ways to raise money for a divorce. Things of value that are not necessary, like sports equipment, an extra car, or jewelry, can be put up for sale.

A couple might have other assets, like stocks, that could be sold as well. Another choice may be to borrow money from family members, access funds in a retirement plan, or a credit union. Cutting back on monthly spending and not adding to the debt will also help. Couples who have never used budgets to manage their expenses may find that now is a good time to start.

To understand one’s options, it is best to consult with a lawyer. An experienced divorce lawyer will explain fees and advise one on ways to pay for a divorce.

Delaware County Divorce Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Help Families Navigate Tough Divorces

If you are struggling with the costs of divorce, one of our Delaware County divorce lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. can explain your options and provide sound legal guidance. For a confidential consultation, complete our online form or call us at 610-565-3701. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.